The way you follow up with your colleagues is important. Doing it wrong can kill any chances of getting back an answer in a positive or timely manner. Why waste previous achievements?
Plan before, act timely
You just realized the project is running out of time. And you didn't plan any reminders or for some reason you lost the grip on that project. What's next? Well, before sending a mad email at 11.57pm to the responsible, CC-ing another couple of people, breathe deeply and think. What's the best act: being mad at someone or finding out a second way to step forward?
If you send the mad email
It really depends on you and on the kind of relationship you have with those people. Sometimes it may be releasing and perhaps effective. You put out your feelings experiencing an immediate sense of relief. It probably produces the opposite effect to the other side receiving the hot potatoes of responsibility. Usually that person takes an immediate action to address the issue or to start working harder.
The day after you'll wake up with a question: “Maybe I've overreacted...?” We don't know. What we know is that the consequences of your act made someone else work unpleasantly and you are going to deal with it: annoyance, muteness, possible late revenge.
If you think twice before acting
Taking a walk is the best way to look at a problem from another perspective and to calm down. You may decide to update and fix your schedule, only after that you can send a communication to the right person. At that point it's possible you still think you need to address the delay to someone, but your communication will be much more rational.
How Apollo helps you sleep-in: no mad emails, no late night walks
Everybody likes go to sleep one hour before, or watch a tv series. You can actually avoid the time spent on following up and getting angry with other people if you set Apollo the right way. So, how can you be politely persistent in getting someone to answer you back?
Basically there are two tools we built in Apollo to help you touch base with people: the Milestone and the Time tracking features. The Milestones are the defined big steps to complete your Mission. Having them organised on a calendar in a clear visual way makes everyone more aware of the deadlines and it will prevent you from continuously reminding several people about their responsibilities. It's following up without having to follow up! Time tracking allows you to visualize the time spent on each task. Not only's it a great way to understand time allocation, but it will give you a good evidence in front of a co worker, partner or client when it comes to asking them something they were supposed to have done.
Whatever solution you adopt, remember that brevity, warmth, empathy for the other person's schedule and inbox, and simple gratitude, make your recipients' lives much better and pay off big time for the sender!